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My Obituary for UCLA Football

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Strangely, I’m OK with it.

I mean, I’m NOT OK with it. I’m full of fury, anguish, and despair. But more than that, I feel resignation. I’m tired. And I’ve come to terms with all of it.

UCLA football is dead to me.

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It’s not that I’m disowning the program. I’m still gonna support the team; my blood will always run Bruin blue. It’s just that I’m no longer going to pour myself into the team like I have been these past few years. I’m moving on with my life. I can finally accept that the program - under the leadership of Karl Dorrell - has been buried. I have emerged from the five stages of grief, and now I’m at peace.

This isn’t the first time my relationship with UCLA football has died. During the last couple of games of the Bob Toledo era, I made a similar vow. Fortunately, the administration was on the same page and got rid of him soon after. Unfortunately, it replaced him with Dorrell.

I forced myself to start fresh, let our relationship be reborn, even though I was skeptical about whether the program was alive once again. Over the course of Dorrell’s five-year tenure, I’ve seen all the telltale signs that suggested this death was imminent; I just chose to hold on to some slivers of hope that the team provided every so often by winning a game it wasn’t supposed to. Even as I’ve been calling for his dismissal for the last several weeks, I still went out and gave my all as a fan.

But now, I, like many of my counterparts in Bruin Nation, can acknowledge with absolute certainty that our spirit has been permanently crushed (well, at least until a new coach revives it); that whatever life, momentum, hope, optimism, and promise that survived the losses to Utah and Notre Dame, and was revived by the win over Cal, was extinguished by this humiliating loss to Washington St.

At this point, I've got nothing more to say. I've vented as much as I possibly can about the frustrations over the team's lack of toughness (see 11/9/06 after Cal), lack of effort (see 9/17/07 after Utah), and lack of preparation (see 10/8/07 after Notre Dame). Others Bruin faithful are carrying the torch, like the boys at who are fundraising to raise up a billboard to publicly petition to AD Dan Guerrero for Dorrell's dismissal, or the always vocal Bruins Nation, or the loyal cranks on Bruin Report Online. Even SI's Stewart Mandel is calling UCLA the worst coached team in America. But I've got no more fuel to add to the fire. Any more negativity out of my mouth is just going to affect my health and make me say something I'll regret.

Now it's not a given that Dorrell is going to be let go; he still has four games, three against top-15 level teams, to continue the deception that the program is headed in the right direction by pulling off some more miraculous upset wins. Honestly, if Guerrero isn't convinced that Dorrell is in over his head, I'm not sure what else needs to happen, short of a winless season. Anyone with a pair of functioning eyes can see that. And if you do truly believe Dorrell's the answer, let me introduce to my good friend the Tooth Fairy.

So with these remaining four games, or possibly even more if the Bruins cowboy up and make a bowl and/or manage to salvage Dorrell's job, I'm looking forward to being just a casual fan. I won't have to pull my hair out over a punchless West Coast offense unable to complete even simple pass plays. I won't have to gnash my teeth seeing another spread offense cut apart the "vaunted" Bruin defense. Best of all, I'll be able to tune out all of the lame clichéd excuses of problems with execution, focus, intensity, and injury. I'll get to use Saturday nights to relax with a glass of wine instead of stewing with my bottle(s) of hard liquor. Already I feel my blood pressure lowering. As much as I'll miss UCLA football, I know I'm so much better off without it right now. And I'm sure I'll be more refreshed when the program is rejuvenated with a new coaching staff.

Whatever does happen, I hope that things are handled with class. 'Cause even though Karl may be dead to me now, he's still a Bruin that exudes integrity, and all Bruins deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. Even if they can't coach their way out of a paper bag.

It's been one hell of a ride. But this is where I get off.

AP Photo by Dean Hare

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